Cosmological mythos is not something that is talked about very much in modern day Christianity. This is despite the fact that the risen Christ is the Bright Morning Star and the Virgin Mary – as the Stella Maris – is the celestial north pole.
But such cosmic roles were very much alive and well in the 12th century when the Gothic style of cathedral architecture was springing up in the spiritual imagination of western Europe. The soaring appearance of a Gothic cathedral emphasises the soul’s ascent into heaven yet also, at the same time, the descent of a heavenly city as an ideal state within which the awakened soul forever resides. But regardless of whether the angels are travelling upwards or downwards, such movements always ontologically traverse the great cosmic ladder which unites Heaven and Earth which thus affords a unified vision ‘on Earth as it is in Heaven’.
The Quadrivial arts of Geometry, Cosmology, Music and Arithmetic are four of the rungs upon this sacred ladder and this talk will focus upon the Master Mason’s use of these Quadrivial arts in the designs of English Gothic cathedrals. The oldest and foremost of these buildings is found in England’s smallest city – Wells in Somerset. For some reason this cathedral is particularly rich in its cosmological design symbolism and use of cosmic mythos. This includes a Christian version of the ancient death-and-resurrection myth of planet Venus as well as a cosmological diagram – re-discovered in the early 1970’s by John Michel – involving the size of the Earth in relation to the Moon. The cathedral also has the same cosmological layout as a Freemason lodge room as well as a topographical hint concerning the role of the Knights Templar in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. These are all findings arising from 12 years of research that the speaker will be publishing at the end of February in his long-awaited book with a title the same as this talk. Tom will also show his advance copy of the book on-camera as well as giving details of how to pre-order a copy for a special price. There will also be a small amount of ‘optional’ geometry drawing for those who want to join in. These short drawing exercises will only last for a few minutes at a time and you can either participate or just watch. You will need a compasses, ruler, pencil and paper.
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